I grew up Catholic until I joined Spirit of God Fellowship at the age of 25. My parents were pretty much what others call “Chreasters” - only going to church on Christmas, Easter, and to celebrate the occasional Catholic sacraments such as baptisms, confirmations, Etc... When I was about 10, my two sisters and I started attending church regularly with our friends, but it was more of a social event for us. However, every time I went to church, I felt the Holy Spirit as I sat in those pews. At the time, I did not know what I was feeling. All I knew was that it was comforting, and that I enjoyed the feeling. Fast forward to 2009 - the year my grandmother passed away - and I had been attending SOGF for about 4 years. I was more in tune with the Holy Spirit. In my family’s tradition, when someone in the family passed away, we all came together at someone's home for 10 days to pray the Rosary together and ensure that our loved ones were safe and made it to heaven. I joined the prayer meetings and remember being on my knees in the kitchen of the packed house, and for the first time ever I recognized that the Holy Spirit was in my parents’ home as we as a family were praying for my grandmother. In my head I thought “this whole time it was you (Holy Spirit)”. The peace I felt in that moment was like no other! I began to thank God for His presence in that room. I prayed that my family was feeling the same thing and that they knew exactly who was there comforting us as we mourned the loss of our grandmother. My grandmother was the person who taught us the power of prayer, but that’s for another devotional.
Once I learned the power of the Holy Spirit, I started to meditate and just sit in God’s presence. This didn’t happen all the time. It mostly happened when I was in desperate need of God’s presence and His peace. I can remember a couple times that stick out to me. One was when I was an assistant branch manager at a bank. A teller came in to work distraught and began saying mean things to me. I went into the bathroom and got on my knees and started praying and asking God for His wisdom. Before I knew it, I was praying in tongues and I could not stop - nor did I truly understand at the moment what was happening. All I knew was that I was being comforted with this peace, which I needed to deal with the situation. Another time, when I wasn’t showing grace to a friend, I prayed to God to reveal something to me about the situation. He gave me vivid pictures of moments when I had received grace from others when I had not deserved it. God showed me that I needed to extend grace to my friend.
I say all of this to encourage you to sit and seek His presence. In these times of uncertainty and so much trouble in this world, we need to feel that He is with us. He is the only presence that can comfort us and give us what we need in the moments when we need it the most. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:12-13: Then you will call on me and come and pray with me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with your whole heart. This verse is so comforting to me and reminds me that He is always with us when we seek Him with our whole heart!